Blog » ForemostList Reviews » Xbox Wireless Headset Review 2021

Xbox Wireless Headset Review 2021

Microsoft tosses its hat into the wireless gaming headset ring with the Xbox Wireless Headset. This $99.99 headset is designed to work with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, along with the different Xbox One models, and it features Bluetooth so you can connect it to other devices, too. The headset looks and feels nice for the price, and it features powerful, bass-heavy audio. The bass can be a bit too heavy without tweaking the headset’s EQ, and the Bluetooth connection isn’t nearly as good as the Xbox wireless connection it uses with the consoles (or with Windows 10 PCs, with an optional adapter). Still, if you take Xbox Wireless Headset as an Xbox-specific headset first and foremost, it’s an excellent pick that earns our Editors’ Choice award.

Simple and Comfortable

The Xbox Wireless Headset has a surprisingly simple design. It’s nearly all-black, with flat, matte plastic surfaces on the earcups and headband that evoke the Xbox Series X. The large, circular earpads are padded with soft memory foam and covered in supple, black faux leather, matched with similar padding on the headband’s underside. Thin, green rings around each earcup, along with an embossed Xbox logo on the right earcup’s back, give the headset a bit of Xbox personality.

The earcups and headband are a bit stiff at first, but once the headphones are fitted to your head size, the Xbox Wireless Headset feels lightweight and comfortable. You should be able to wear the Xbox Wireless Headset for long play sessions without issue.

The big, flat circles on each earcup are large, smoothly spinning dials that act as the headset’s primary controls. The right ear’s dial adjusts the headset’s master volume, while the left ear tweaks game/voice balance (with a helpful click-stop in the middle for setting the balance to neutral). 

The left earcup’s back edge houses a small, green button that functions as both power and pairing. The boom microphone is mounted just below it, with its own tiny, mic mute button. The microphone is a long, narrow black capsule on a short, flexible arm that can curl up against the headset when not in use. That said, it doesn’t telescope or otherwise disappear from view.

The right earcup’s back edge has a USB-C port for charging the headset. According to Microsoft, the Xbox Wireless Headset can last up to 15 hours at a time. It takes three hours to fully charge, but plugging it in for 30 minutes will give it about four hours of use.

Wireless Connections

The Xbox Wireless Headset is designed to work with the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One’s wireless connections, pairing with the consoles just like an Xbox Wireless Controller. It’s Bluetooth 4.2 compatible, but only supports the standard SBC codec, not the higher-bitrate AptX or AAC codecs over Bluetooth. Between the lower bitrate limiting the audio quality and the Bluetooth connection’s higher latency, you should purchase the $25 Xbox Wireless Adapter if you plan to use the headset with your PC. It provides the same wireless connection as Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles (and can improve your Xbox Wireless Controller’s performance over Bluetooth, if you use one with your PC, too).

I had no problem pairing the Xbox Wireless Headset to my Xbox Series X over its own wireless signal and to my Windows 10 PC over Bluetooth. The headset remembers multiple wireless signals, so it automatically connected to both when I turned it on after pairing. However, it also automatically turned my Xbox on whenever I powered on the headset.

The Xbox Wireless Headset lacks built-in, simulated surround processing, but it leverages Dolby Atmos, DTS Headphone:X, and Windows Sonic’s spatial audio through the Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows 10 PCs. Windows Sonic is integrated into those platforms, but Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone:X require separate app purchases through the Windows or Xbox stores.

Xbox Wireless Headset connection

If you want to adjust the headset’s balance, check out the Xbox Accessories app. It has a five-band equalizer, with presets, that lets you make audio changes. The app also lets you tweak microphone monitoring and choose between the aforementioned spatial audio systems. However, these adjustments only work with Xbox consoles or a USB-C connection to a Windows 10 computer; you can’t make tweaks over Bluetooth. 

Microphone Performance

The microphone works best with the Xbox Wireless Connection, but it delivers quality voice chat over Bluetooth, too. Test recordings were fairly clear and detailed, though the slight hiss of Bluetooth artifacts were apparent. Your voice will likely come through better over your Xbox than your PC with Bluetooth, which means the microphone isn’t exactly well-suited for recording or streaming. For PC connections, we recommended the HyperX Cloud II Wireless and Razer Nari Essential. They have better mics, with their own included USB receivers rather than Bluetooth. Of course, for serious content creation, we recommend getting a dedicated USB microphone rather than using a headset.

Bluetooth and Music Performance

You won’t get the best music quality over Bluetooth with the Xbox Wireless Headset’s SBC codec, but the headset still offers solid performance with that connection if you want to use it with your phone. It handled our bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” at maximum (and unsafe) volume without any distortion. The bass synth notes and kick drum hits get enough sub-bass response to really vibrate the ears.

Xbox Wireless Headset in hands

The headset’s bass-heavy audio balance comes through with Yes’ “Roundabout.” The opening acoustic guitar plucks receive plenty of lower frequency resonance, though some higher frequency string texture does come through. The bassline takes prominence when the track properly starts. The vocals sit slightly back, and the guitar strums and drums are even less present, but they still retain clarity. None of the elements completely disappear in the mix, though; the bass just overshadows them, especially at higher volumes. Bass lovers will appreciate the headset’s tuning, but it’s definitely not for music purists.

Gaming Performance

Doom Eternal, as played on the Xbox Series X, sounds powerful through the Xbox Wireless Headset. The industrial soundtrack and various weapons produce sounds with loads of low-frequency thunder. In fact, I found the bass to be a bit overpowering while using the default Game balance. Switching to another preset, such as Movie or Music, through the Xbox Accessories app helped tone down the rumble and give the game a more pleasant balance. That said, if you love bass, feel free to go all-out. 

The Windows Sonic simulated surround processing on the console gives a good sense of directionality for higher frequency sound effects, with accurate left-right panning. You won’t pinpoint the demons’ exact locations, especially if the bass overshadows the other sound effects, but you’ll get a good sense of their general directions.

Fortnite also sounds good on the Xbox Wireless Headset, with even better directionality (thanks to a soundtrack that isn’t nearly as overwhelmingly thumpy as Doom Eternal’s). I found it relatively easy to track the sources of distant gunshots and the rustling of grass and other materials when outside. Weapon exchanges pack plenty of power, and the hum and whine of nearby loot boxes can be clearly distinguished from other sounds. It’s an audio balance that suits Fortnite well.

Xbox Wireless Headset on head

Tetris Effect: Connected is another game that benefits from switching away from the bass-heavy Game preset to another mode, such as Music. By default, the headset significantly boots the soundtrack’s low frequencies, which takes attention away from the beautiful melodies and atmospheric sounds. Changing to a mode that emphasizes the higher frequencies produces a much more balanced game sound.

Best for Xbox

The Xbox Wireless Headset is an excellent gaming headset for the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One. For just $99.99, it offers powerful sound and a lightweight, comfortable fit, with helpful audio customization options via the Xbox Accessories app. It even works with Bluetooth, so you can easily connect it to other devices. The Xbox Wireless Headset produces bass-heavy sound by default, and lacks high-end, Bluetooth audio codecs, but it stands tall as an Editors’ Choice pick for gaming headsets. 

If you want to primarily use the headset with your PC, you should consider other options that don’t rely on Bluetooth and include their own wireless adapters, like the Astro Gaming A20 or Razer Nari Essential. And if you’re a PlayStation 5 (or PlayStation 4) gamer, Sony has its own first-party, wireless gaming headset in the Pulse 3D Wireless Gaming Headset. The Bluetooth-less headset sounds good, but its pinhole microphone isn’t nearly as good as the Xbox headset’s boom mic.

Xbox Wireless Headset Specs

Type Circumaural (over-ear), Gaming
Wireless Yes
True Wireless No
Connection Type Bluetooth
Water/Sweat-Resistant No
Active Noise Cancellation No

var facebookPixelLoaded = false;
window.addEventListener(‘load’, function(){
document.addEventListener(‘scroll’, facebookPixelScript);
document.addEventListener(‘mousemove’, facebookPixelScript);
})

function facebookPixelScript() {
if (!facebookPixelLoaded) {
facebookPixelLoaded = true;
document.removeEventListener(‘scroll’, facebookPixelScript);
document.removeEventListener(‘mousemove’, facebookPixelScript);

!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s){if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?
n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;
n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,
document,’script’,’//connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’);

fbq(‘init’, ‘454758778052139’);
fbq(‘track’, “PageView”);
}
}